When a podcaster publishes a new episode, they usually also create a new page on their website to serve as a home for that episode. These are called “shownotes” pages because, in addition to an embedded audio player for the episode, these pages include additional text, such as a description of the episode and links to things mentioned in the episode. Shownotes pages help podcasters grow their shows by providing a link that can be shared on social media and be indexed by search engines like Google.
Additionally, a campaign can be set up to automatically send an email to subscribers every time a new shownotes page is published. This gives podcasters a way to grow their email databases and website traffic while encouraging repeat listening.
It's a concept that radio broadcasters should borrow. Here's how you implement it:
1. Put an email registration form on your website.
Let's suppose you host the morning show on WKRP. On the station's website, you want to encourage people to sign up to receive daily emails with the morning show recordings. These email registration forms are not the same as the station's general “sign up for our station newsletter” form. On the front end, they explicitly state what the subscriber will receive (the morning show recordings) and how often they will receive them (every weekday). On the backend, the form assigns these subscribers to a specific segment of the email database — let's call it “Morning Show Subscribers.”
This registration form could appear in the sidebar and/or a pop-up window on your morning show's shownotes pages. It might not appear on other pages of the website, where you are instead encouraging people to sign up for the station's general email list.
2. Set up an automated email campaign.
Now we're going to set up an RSS-to-email campaign to automatically send out an email to this segment every time a new “shownotes” page is published to the website. This means that you never have to write these emails — they happen automagically. Most small business email service providers like Mailchimp and AWeber, offer this feature. (Tragically, Constant Contact does not, but you can use Zapier as a workaround.)
Suppose your radio station's website is built in WordPress and it uses Mailchimp to manage it's email database. Every morning, you're going to create a new WordPress post for that day's show and put it in the “Morning Show” category. You'll set up a Mailchimp campaign to check the RSS feed for the “Morning Show” category (that feed will be at wkrp.com/category/morning_show/feed — RSS feeds are built in to WordPress) and send out an email blast linking to the show at 4:00 pm — right before listeners commute home from work. That way, if they missed part of the morning show, they can listen to it on their ride home.
After Every Show
3. Create a new “shownotes” webpage every time you complete your radio show.
After each show, grab the recording — audio, video, or both — and upload it to your hosting platform. Create a new WordPress post in the “Morning Show” category and embed the recording at the top. Add text and images to accompany the recording, such as a one-paragraph recap and a list of links to the things discussed on the show. You may also want to include time markers indicating which topics were discussed at which times in the recording; this enables listeners to quickly forward to the parts of the show that interest them most.
When creating the shownotes page, make sure you're creating a compelling piece of content — something that is worthy of being shared on social media, emailed to fans, and included in search engine results. Ask yourself, “Would I want this to be emailed to me every day?”
4. Optimize your shownotes page for search engines.
Don't overlook search engines as a source of website traffic. Yes, social media is sexier, but search engines can drive a steady stream of traffic day in and day out. In this example, make sure that the station's WordPress website has the Yoast SEO plugin installed and configure the settings properly for each shownotes page.
5. Pro-activley share your shownotes page on social media.
Now that you've got a page to share, schedule posts that link to it on social media throughout the rest of the day. When you do, tag the people and organizations mentioned on the show so they see your post and — hopefully — share it with their followers as well. This video shows you how to proactively share your content:
Now that you've tied these pieces together, here's what will happen: Listeners come to your shownotes page via social media or search engine results. Once they get to the shownotes page, they might sign up to have the show emailed to them every day. These emails will encourage them to return to the website regularly, and also keep the show at the top of their minds, increasing the chances that they'll tune in on the radio. Before long, you will be able to track the success of this strategy by seeing the number of website visitors and the number of email subscribers go up. Adjust the strategy to see if you can maximize the growth of these numbers.